How To

February 26, 2012

Picture This: Preserve Your Memories, Even if they’re Digital

What do people grab when they are forced to leave their home in a disaster such as a fire or a flood? After accounting for other members of their family and pets – they usually run back into the building for their photographs. Why the pictures? Because it is the one physical link that most of us have to our past – our memories.

Most of us would say that it’s insane to run into a burning building for pictures, but in truth it is probably one of only a few things that can’t be replaced (such as clothing or furniture). Would you do the same thing?

Think now, where are all your priceless memories stored? In a photo album, a scrapbook, or a shoe box? In most cases, since photography transitioned from analog to digital, they exist on camera cards, hard drives, or web albums. The truth is that only a small percentage of the images captured are actually printed. As the “techie dad” knows, devices fail. Hard drives crash, camera cards become corrupted or lost and web providers can go out of business – leaving you with nothing!

So the good news is you don’t need to run into a burning building…but if you want to play it “safe” there are a couple other courses of action I would like to suggest.

The first is to start printing your favorite images. They can be on 4×6 inch prints or in a photo book (more about that in the future) or a scrapbook (typically reserved for the other gender), or a variety of other methods but just print!

Printing can be accomplished at retail such as a camera store, a pharmacy or wholesale club or via the internet to the same aforementioned locations. You can send your images to on-line companies like Snapfish or even print them at home.

Images that are printed are fun to share – just think, you won’t need a computer or a mobile device to show the grandparents the recent ski trip or what the kids looked like at Halloween. There are few greater pleasures in life than looking at the images of your children when they were younger as compared to today.

In addition, back up those digital files to a secondary location such as an external hard drive, DVD’s, or an on-line service like Dropbox. The advantage to a cloud solution is that you can then access your pictures from anywhere – like when you’re at your in-laws and they mention you once again forgot to send them new pictures of their grandkids.

You are probably fortunate enough to have access to the images that your parents captured of you when you were a child. Have you shared them with your kids – do they look like dad or mom when they were that age? Your children will want to have the same pleasure – right? Oh no, wait a second, you never printed anything and 20 years from now the digital media is incompatible or lost! You can tell where this is going…make prints, back-up your pictures and share your memories with your kids as we have done for the last several generations!

About the Author

Dan Unger
Dan Unger is an international marketing communications and photography expert - and a father of three. He resides digitally at

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